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American Privilege

The more I think about Men On Film Guy in that Swarthmore protest video, the more I think it explains about a kind of decadence in American politics, cultural and otherwise. Fast-forward the clip to about the 1:15 mark. He responds to the lone woman’s objection that the mob he’s apparently leading is engaging in intimidation by a hysterical assertion that as a “student of color at Swarthmore College,” he is uniquely qualified to judge what intimidation is. He then talks about how some unknown vandals have allegedly been urinating on the door of the Intercultural Center (though according to the campus newspaper, it’s not known whether this was a political act, or just drunk students taking a leak). And then he storms out while the mob applauds.

It’s really rich, this kid studying at an elite private college, a place that costs over $50,000 per year to attend, having a hissy fit in public over playing the More Oppressed Than Thou card. I think about the kids in my parish, white and black alike, who will never begin to know the privilege that this young man has had, and will have, because of his elite education, and — more importantly — the skills he’s learned at manipulating people like this pathetic guy, a Swarthmore classmate whose mind has marinated in the preciousness of diversity-think to the point where it’s turned to syllabub.

There are so, so many people in this country — people of all races — intimidated by the prospect that they won’t be able to find a job. People with college educations, but especially people without them. That’s real intimidation, not this prisspot Swarthmore student going to pieces because some jerks may have peed on the Intercultural Student Center. Shame on these college professors and administrators who have allowed Men On Film Guy and his radical cohorts to think that the way to get what they want is to see themselves as VICTIMS, and that the successful strategy is to stomp and scream and assert their victimhood until Mommy and Daddy give in.

It works at places like Swarthmore. But there is a world outside of Swarthmore, and when the education bubble pops, deflating the pretenses of the Swarthmores, what then? What kind of job will a hissy fit and an education in Oppression Studies get you? What kind of wisdom will have been imparted by being taught to think of yourself as the sort of person who is a victim of society, and can only achieve by manipulating the guilt of power-holders?

What kind of man or woman will you have become when you are so coddled and privileged that you think you are suffering, when you don’t see that you have it better than 98 percent of your fellow Americans?

Is that man-child stomping out of the door in that video really the kind of graduates Swarthmore and institutions like it want to produce? If so, they’ve failed.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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